You know it’s been a calm sail when we finally drop anchor and none of us girls have dreadlocks.
We estimated that it would take us about 2 1/2 days to get here, and we ‘landed’ after 44 hours, having sailed 342 nautical miles (410.4 land miles). Tanda Malaika is a dream to sail, and takes such good care of us.
We left Isla Mujeres around noon on Friday, and the ocean was so incredibly calm. It was like a giant lake.
This of course means no wind for sailing, so we raised the sails and motor sailed out to find wind. Our hope was to catch a ride with the Trade winds, and also to ride the swift current all the way to Key West. While motor sailing on the calm seas, it was so smooth that I felt like we were floating, and finally just before sunset, we harnessed the Trade Winds and took flight.
It was interesting to be in such a busy shipping lane, because over the entire passage we constantly watched giant cargo ships cruise by and it was especially busy as we passed Cuba. We have the AIS system (Automatic Identification System), which transmits vessel position, SOG and COG (speed and course over ground), ship name, size and next port of call. Ships over 300 gross tonnage are required to install AIS, but many smart sailors also do for safety sake. When a ship icon shows up on our navigation screen, if we touch it, it pulls up all the info I mentioned and looking at its direction, one can quick tell if you’re on a collision course and when exactly that collision would take place. Sailboats have right of way when under sail, but it is wise to keep a close watch just in case someone is not paying attention. Every time we saw a cargo ship on this sail, we watched them change their heading to steer clear of us.
Danny caught a small tuna on that first day, but threw it back since it was so small.
We decided to take 2 hour watches through the night, and liked it so much more than 3 hour watches. That third hour is always a tough one to stay awake through.
On Saturday at about 6:30am I set both fishing lines, dragging brightly colored lures quite a ways behind the boat. As the day went on, Jude, Mycah and I did lunges and wall sits out on deck, and relaxed, chatted and read the rest of the day. We always have someone at the helm, even during the day time, and just rotate through the family. At one point Jonathan and Aidan were at the helm, and Aidan looked over at the fishing rod, noticing it bent in that beautiful arch that says dinner is on the end of the line, and as Jonathan came to tell Danny and I he checked our other line to find we had a fish on it too. I got to work turning Tanda Malaika into irons to slow us down while Danny did his ninja fisherman thing and brought in 2 beautiful Mahi Mahi (Durado).
Danny quickly filleted them and I set aside one for dinner and one for the freezer. I served fresh Mahi Mahi, couscous and salad for dinner, and everybody loved it.
The sunset was once again spectacular, and a dark, star filled sky spread out over us.
Bio-luminescence sparkled brightly, as if to imitate the sky, and once in a while I saw a shooting star streak across then disappear. At one point as I stood out on the bow in the darkness, I thought I heard the exhale of a dolphin below me, before it disappeared once again into the depths. This place, this beauty out on the ocean, is the most peaceful place in the world, where I stand speechless and in awe at the details of His creations. It is also here, that I feel my Dad and my brother standing either side of me.
This morning in the very early hours I watched as we left the Gulf of Mexico and entered the Straights of Florida. Danny and I took watch again from about 5am on because we needed to start meandering through buoys, crap pots and reef while nearing Key West. A welcome committee greeted us as we entered the mooring field, and all the creatures gathered ready with boat hook and line to pick up the mooring ball. We have such awesome crew.
So here we are. Sitting in the calm waters in Key West. Danny and I took the dinghy in to check in, and on Monday we all have to go to the court house to meet with customs and immigration.
Our adopted sister/aunt, Tonya, will meet us here and stay for a sleep over tonight. We are excited to spend time with her, and most likely somewhere around Tuesday we’ll sail farther north for a bit before heading back into the Bahamas. As Danny always says, “we have no plan and we’re sticking to it!”